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Crag na dun Time Tours update!

 

 

 

craigh_na_dun_time tours

tea leaf reading2

Mrs. Graham has asked me to please post this quick update! As many of you may be aware of, after the holidays are over, Crag na dun Time Tours will be sending me on my  own Time travel adventure. I am working with them right now doing a great deal of in depth research in order to make my journey as successful as possible.  I originally thought that this offer was just a great gift in appreciation for all of the free advertisement I have given her company… Ummm No, it turns out that I am being used as a guinea pig in a way to test their new travel sites in Scandinavia! I will also be doing historical investigations for the various sites involved  while on this trip and hopefully, I will be able to get it all done and return to the present in time for the return of Outlander to Starz network!

 

Crag na dun Time tours has made special arrangements for me to travel back to the Viking era via some Standing Stones in Denmark and southern Sweden. They did debate on using some in the northern parts of Sweden near Uppsala but decided that the Stones in the more southern regions would make for easier travel connections to the area and people they are sending me to.

While the company normally does not promote, guarantee or promise meetings or connections with historically famous people, they are making an exception this time for their research purposes. They will be placing me within close proximity to a particular family and Clan to observe and follow. I am to document the history and events of this group. Upon my return, I will work on a thorough investigation as to the accuracy of said history!

The family that they want me to focus on is that of one Ragnar Lodbrok, located in Kattegat Bay between Denmark and Sweden during the mid 800s.

 http://www.history.com/shows/Vikings

Kattegat bay

Kattegat bay

Ragnar Lodbrok with his wife and children in the beginnings of their legacy.

vikings_gallery8_3-P

 

We will begin our journey with this family after the holiday. For right now, we just want to share a few of the Stone sites that will be working in conjunction with Crag na dun Time Tours in the future if this trip works out well…. as in if I make a successful round trip of it!

 

Please be aware and advised that these sites differ a bit from those Stone Circles and such that you might be used to in the British Isles. These Stone Circles are most usually in the shape of an ellipse and often referred to as Stone Ships. They are scattered throughout southern Scandinavia and some date back to the late Bronze age and earliest Stone Age. They are not nearly as well researched or documented as those Stone Circles of Britain and it is much assumed that they were ancient burial sites to represent funeral ships which would carry the dead to the other side of the unknown.

What is important to keep in mind when looking at these different sites and attempting to make comparisons, is that  the earliest Nordic tradition and rituals are still only surmised or guessed about? They did not have a full written language and much of their most ancient history has been lost or not documented as precisely as other cultures of the time. They relied on an oral tradition of passing down their history and some of it has not survived accurately.  The earliest Stone sites may have been for sacred rituals besides burial burnings.  There are time spaces or gaps between usage of  many of the sites with the burial mounds and remains often dating later than original stone placements. This would suggest that the sites were possibly sacred and of some significance before the people began burying their dead there.

This one, Altes Lager (Menzlin) is located   south of the village of Menzlin near Anklam, Western Pomerania, Germany. The site, on the banks of the river Peene, was an important Viking trading-post during the Viking Age. At that time, Pomerania was inhabited by Slavic Wends, yet several Viking trading-posts were set up along the coast (the nearest were Ralswiek to the West and Jomsborg/Wollin to the east).

 

 

Ancient Stone ships at Altes-lager-menzlin

Ancient Stone ships at Altes-lager-menzlin

 

One of the largest and most known sites is at Anundshog, Sweden.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anund

http://www.anundshog.se/

Welcome to Anundshög

During the Stone Age, around 2500 BC, people were already beginning to settle on the long ridge which had been formed when the inland ice retreated.

Trade routes and water courses met around Badelunda ridge and over the centuries the area became a cultural centre for the whole of the western Mälardalen region.
It was here people gathered for the Thing (district court), even as late as the Middle Ages.  It was here people sacrificed to their gods and later prayed to the new Christian god.  It was here the dead were buried, in large and impressive burial mounds or simple and insignificant graves along the side of the ridge down towards the water, according to power and position.
Its period of greatness lasted during the whole of the Iron Age, that is from around 500 BC to around 1050 AD, which is why today the Anundshög area is one of the largest and richest areas with prehistoric remains in Sweden.

Badekunda stone ship

 

 

Anundshog Sweden's largest Viking burial site

If you look at this old map, you will see that Anundshog is near Uppsala, another sacred site for the Vikings. It is quite a distance from where we need to be though and would require a rather long journey aside from the one I will already be encountering!

 

Anundshog_map01_vt

 

640px-Viking_towns_of_Scandinavia_2

We are searching for a site a bit closer to Kattegat.

For our upcoming trip, we will be using the Stones Site at Lindholm Hoje near Aalborg Denmark!

Denmark_vikings_3

Lindholm-Hoje_web

Lindholm Høje (Lindholm Hills, from Old Norse haugr, hill or mound) is a major Viking burial site and former settlement situated to the north of and overlooking the city of Aalborg in Denmark.

The southern (lower) part of Lindholm Høje dates to 1000 – 1050 AD, the Viking Age, while the northern (higher) part is significantly earlier, dating back to the 5th century AD.  An unknown number of rocks were removed from the site over the centuries, many, for example, being broken up in the 19th century for use in building roads. The Viking Age part of the burial ground suffered more from this than the earlier part.  The first major archaeological excavation, which ultimately encompassed 589 of the approximately 700 graves,[3] began in 1952, although excavations had been conducted as early as 1889.

Remains of villages have been found. The settlement is at an important crossing over the Limfjord, a stretch of water which divides what is now Jutland. During the Viking period, it was only possible to make the crossing at this point or much further along the fjord at Aggersund, because of the swamps which then edged the fjord on either side.

The settlement was abandoned in approximately 1200 AD, probably due to sand drifting from the western coast, which was a consequence of extensive deforestation and the exposed sand then being blown inland by the rough westerly winds. The sand which covered the site served to protect it in large part over the intervening centuries.

This site is not as old as some of the other sites mentioned, but it is more massive in size than others and probably dates further back than what is currently stated. The nearby city of Aalborg dates back to the  Iron age.
The area around the narrowest point on the Limfjord attracted settlements as far back as the Iron Age leading to a thriving Viking community until around the year 1000 in what has now become Aalborg. In the Middle Ages, royal trading privileges, a natural harbour and a thriving herring fishing industry contributed to the town’s growth. Despite the difficulties it experienced over the centuries, the city began to prosper once again towards the end of the 19th century when a bridge was built over Limfjord and the railway arrived. Aalborg’s initial growth relied on heavy industry but its current development focuses on culture and education.
 
Lindholm hoje near Aalborg Denmark OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA lindholm3 Lindholm-Hoje_web lindhom hoje denmark
While there may be more impressive singular examples of  even earlier Stone type circles throughout Scandinavia, Mrs. Graham and her associates assure me that the large number of  “burial” and burning sites in this one particular location probably contain as much power and energy as those more familiar sites. 

 

Mrs. Graham tells my fortune!

 

 

 

Just a quick update… Mrs. Graham stopped by to let me know all is forgiven and she is dropping that silly notion of legal action. She says there has been a huge increase in business at all of the other Standing Stone sites thanks to the free advertisement that I gave her! As a token of her appreciation, she offered to do a free tea leaf reading for me.  Now, my personal opinion on the tea leaf reading is that of, “Who on earth dreamed up this rather bizarre form of fortune telling?”  Of course, I didn’t want to offend her by insinuating that I had serious doubts about any accuracy or validity of this particular form of fortune telling. I did ask her casually if she did palm reading and might she do one of those instead? She mentioned that yes, she does do some palm reading, but prefers the tea leaves as it kills two birds with one stone… as in you get to relax with a nice spot of tea along with having your fortune told! I guess I can’t fault her reasoning on that, I do enjoy a spot of tea myself. So, I went along with her absurd idea of the tea leaf reading- if for not other reason than I had a bit of spare time on my hands, the tea sounded good, and it might provide me with some free entertainment and amusement!

Mrs graham demonstrates tea leaf reading

mrs graham and tea leaves2

I tried not to show any doubt or laugh out loud at her as she took her time inspecting the tea leaves in the bottom of my cup… So serious she was about all of this? I’m sorry, it’s just difficult for me to take this tea leaf reading art seriously!  Really, what kind of fortune or future can you decipher from a mess of soggy tea leaves randomly stuck to the bottom of tea cup?

teacup-sunshine

 

mrs graham3

Mrs. Graham senses my doubting disbelief in the art and gives me a lecture and lesson on the history and art of reading tea leaves!

Tasseography (also known as tasseomancy  or tassology) is a  divination or  fortune-telling method  that interprets  patterns  in tea leaves, coffee grounds,  or wine sediments.

The terms derive from the French word tasse (cup), which in turn derives from the cognate Arabic word tassa, and the Greek suffixes -graph (writing), -logy (study of), and -mancy (divination).

Divination attempts to gain insight into the natural world through intuitive interpretation of synchronistic events.

The first inklings of Western tasseography can be traced to medieval European fortune tellers who developed their readings from splatters of wax, lead, and other molten substances. This evolved into tea-leaf reading in the seventeenth century, a short time after Dutch merchants introduced tea to Europe via trade routes to China.

Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England have produced a number of practitioners and authors on the subject, and English potteries have crafted many elaborate tea cup sets specially designed and decorated to aid in fortune-telling. Cultures of the Middle East that practice divination in this fashion usually use left-over coffee grounds from Turkish coffee/Lebanese coffee/Greek coffee turned over onto a plate.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tasseography

 

Ok, Ok…I put on my most serious face and nod my head in feigned interest and respect- just to get her to stop frowning lecture she is giving me! She goes back to reading the leaves intently, and then reaches for my hand. Yes, this is the good part! She is going to throw in a palm reading as well… she says this will just give her a clearer picture of what the leaves are telling her?

http://www.wikihow.com/Read-Palms

tumblr_mc58b2CSzm1qljfm7o1_500 palm-reading-maps--large-msg-138766562547 multi-perspective-palm-reading-chart-1

Ohhhhh ummmmm she’s going on again in an in depth, detailed explanation of palm reading now… I am far too interested and impatient to sit through a long discussion. I just want to know what she sees! I very politely tell her that I would love to discuss it in more depth at some other time- I am not making that up, I really would love to know more about the palm reading! But, for now, I really am far too excited to hear what her reading is. I’m not so interested in the tea leaves as she is but the palm reading has caught my imagination! She looks as though she’s bursting to tell me something… Ohhhh I hope it’s  good! I hope it’s not one of those usual clichés like meeting a tall dark and handsome stranger, going on a voyage, or any of that silly stuff!

Mrs Graham tries to tell Frank

Well go ahead then, Mrs. Graham, tell me what my future, or my past holds….

tea leaf reading2

What? What is this? She is smirking and going on about seeing distant Stones, a sea voyage, a tall dark and handsome stranger, a king… she says she sees ancient lands being fought over? Alright, that is really just enough! I know she could not have seen all those things in a bunch of teal leaves or on the palm of my hand! Now, I am a little annoyed that she is playing a prank on me. I have to tell her so!

She laughs at my irritation and moves the tea cups out of the way.  She digs in her over large purse and puts out some maps and other papers on the table. Still laughing at me, she says she could not resist the bit of fun but she does have some serious information to share with me!

It seems that there has been a great deal of interest in early medieval times and the Viking ages. A number of people have expressed interest in traveling to those times and her company is working on putting together some packages for those time periods. In fact, she states, she has been working with some ancient sites in Denmark and Sweden in order to provide transport points directly to the Vikings so that people might have a travel experience which reflects the Viking perspective or point of view.

Ales_stenar_bred stones

Ales_stenar_bred stones

Hagbølle

Hagbølle

Kong Asgers Høj

Kong Asgers Høj

ancient stone near uppsala

ancient stone near uppsala

uppsala vikings

uppsala Vikings

Map_Skagerak-Kattegat

Hmmmm, this all sounds quite interesting? I admit that I am one of those people who would be keenly interested in such a trip as it is one of my favorite time periods… I express my interest to Mrs. Graham, who nods her head, “I thought you might be interested in helping us out with our project.” She goes on to explain that they are working with some groups in Denmark to provide a unique type of experience for interested travelers, but before they can offer the package, they need some volunteers to assist them.  I am about to wave my hand wildly in the air and squeee in some childish excitement, “Ohhhh Pick me, Pick me!” She stops me and tells me to sit back down so she can explain before I blindly agree!

I listen half heartedly to her advisements and warnings… I am going to volunteer no matter how much she warns me of the dangers involved- especially when she mentions that this trip would be a free one! Whooooo talk about luck, an all expense paid vacation back to the past, to the land and time of the Vikings! I try hard to contain myself and remain calm but it’s a total fail until she regains my attention when she brings up the topic of the palm reading and tea leaves. She gives me a serious, pay attention look that causes me to do exactly that.  Mrs. Graham tells me that the palm reading and tea leaves did indeed indicate some of those things such as an important kingly man, another stranger, a long voyage, and the turbulent fighting for land or power.  She warns me in no uncertain terms that I will be in the middle of all of this and there will be grave danger in my travel. I should take some time to think about it and then get back to her?

Two distant lands meet and fight for power….

Viking era Denmark

Denmark_viking age

Denmark_viking age

Early England

Egbert_of_Wessex_map

A kingly Royal man, Ecbert of Wessex

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Egbert_of_Wessex

Egbert of Engand

Ecbert of Wessex

vikings-linus-roache-history Vikings-Ecbert-King-of-Wessex-played-by-Linus-Roache1

A long voyage…

viking long boat

Some other strangers…

Ragnar Lodbrok

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ragnar_Lodbrok

vikings_ragnar_3-P

His brother, Rollo…

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rollo

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A clash of cultures, a battle for land and power…

Early Christianity in England

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The more ancient Gods and ways of  Vikings

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The battles over land, power, traditions and cultures

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